After a recent correspondence with Kayte Terry I have been totally addicted to her blog. I like to think that I am also an omni-crafter so I really enjoy the variety of amazingness she has there. It is very inspiring! Kayte has made really amazing and unique pieces for the last few Plush You shows and did a really nice writeup of the show last year for Adorn Magazine. Her awesome book, Complete Embellishing: Techniques and Projects is equally as inspiring. Full of fun projects that any omni-crafter will enjoy! Leave a comment here with contact info for your chance to win!
S- Can you first let our readers know a little bit more about you?
KT- Sure! I am a stylist/writer/crafter living in Brooklyn, NY. I love everything about making things and have been crafting for pretty much my whole life. I am definitely an omni-crafter and like making all sorts of different things but I am no good at making multiples. I like to use a lot of vintage materials so most of what I craft is one-of-a-kind. My favorite things are japanese craft books, paint by numbers, Liberty prints and the color pink.
S- You do a lot of writing for various publications on various crafty things and events. How did you get into freelance writing?
KT- I wrote a lot in college and always imagined that I would write really lofty art theory books after I got out of school. Of course, I totally stopped writing after college and didn't really pick it up again until I started blogging. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed writing. After that, I started writing a bit for Get Crafty and for the Adorn Magazine blog and eventually more jobs came in.
S- Because you do a lot of writing I imagine you get exposed to a lot. How has that fostered your craft? Has there been any negatives because of it?
KT- Yes, I am definitely always reading, researching, going to museums and shows...mostly I think it has a very positive effect on my craft because I have so many inspiring resources at my fingertips. I think that, as a crafter, it's really important to know what's out there, what the trends are and have a sense of the history of my craft.
There is definitely such a thing as inspiration overload though; sometimes it's hard for me to focus on one project and I always have to make sure that my own work isn't too derivative. Sometime I just have to turn off all the outside stimuli and focus on my on work.
S- How long have you been making plush? How does it differ for you than other mediums?
KT- I started making plush about five years ago. My first plushies were semi-deranged rabbits inspired by my very own bunny/muse Potato. After that, I experimented with pincushions. I made a few cupcakes and pears and I was hooked on making food.
There's something kind of ridiculous and impractical about making plush food that I love. I like challenging myself with more complex shapes and elaborate meals. Since most of my plush food takes a really long time to make and is therefore pretty expensive to sell, I make them for my own joy. When you craft for a living, it's nice to make things that you don't really think of as "product".
S- You book, Complete Embellishings: Techniques and Projects is really fantastic! How did that come about? What are some of your favorite projects in the book?
It kind of came out of the blue. Collins and Brown, the British publisher that put out the book, contacted Christina, the editor at Adorn magazine (where I was working as a stylist and crafter) and asked if they had suggestions for a person who would be good for a cool book about embellishing. She suggested me and I started working with them on a Table of Contents.
I have always been a big fan of embellishing and sent them a bunch of pictures of things I have done to my own wardrobe plus projects I have made for magazines. I love the idea of taking something boring from your closet and making it amazing and cool again. I have been known to do some crazy renegade embellishing to my clothing when I am getting dressed to go out so it was a subject I was really passionate about.
My favorite projects are the Victoriana Cardigan and the Prize Ribbon Skirt but it's hard for me to choose just two! I like both of these because at first, when I started making them for the book, I wasn't really sure how they were going to work out. Especially with the Prize Ribbon Skirt, it started as one of my least favorite projects and morphed into a favorite as I tweaked and redesigned it.
I like the idea that embellishing is an organic process and I hope that each reader feels free to make each project to their own tastes. I really wanted to provide people with tools to embellish different things but I don't want to tell people exactly what fabric or trims to pick or which colors to choose.
S- Are you working on anything new in the book publishing side of things?
KT- Yes! I have a book coming out with Chronicle books next fall. The book will be all about appliqué and features 35 projects with some great contributors! Otherwise, I have been writing for the Craft Stylish blog and working on their magazine too.
S- Do you have any advice for folks that are interested in getting published?
KT- Do some research: go to a book store and see what's out there, what can be improved upon and what crafters seem to be really into now. If there are twenty books written on the same subject, you might want to tweak your subject matter. If there are none, you want to ask yourself if there is a wide enough market for the book. If there are a few, then you are probably in pretty good shape. Make sure you can show why your book will be different and/or better than those books.
Get a book about writing a non-fiction proposal or, if you have a friend who has written a book, get their advice. A book proposal should convey the tone of the book and give a little peak into what the rest of the book will be. You should write a sample chapter or two and be prepared to make a few samples of projects. Also, you should tell your publisher what you can do to help promote and market the book.
Writing a book is a team effort from start to finish.
You don't have to get an agent but I really recommend it. They do take a percentage of your advance but they will help you get a better deal so it usually works out in your favor. One more thing: don't expect to make a fortune, especially on your first book. It is a ton of work but it is really rewarding too! (S- I second that :)
S- What are some of your favorite crafty resources?
KT- I love Etsy of course and buy a lot of my craft supplies on Ebay too. My favorite fabric store is definitely Purl Soho here in New York and I love all the stores in the Garment district. I love getting lost in the craft section of Kinokuniya, purveyor of wonderful Japanese books. I read a lot of craft, design and art blogs too and enjoy getting lost in the blog spiral, where you just click from link to link to link. You never know what you're going to find!
S- Where do you see your business in the next 3 years?
KT- I would love to have another book or two in the works. Writing books has been so amazing and satisfying. I would like to do some more styling for other people's craft books too; I styled my own book and Diana Rupp's book and I really love it.
Someday, I want to be on Martha's show too! That's when I know I have really made it!
(S- I second that one too!)
S- Anything else exciting you might like to share with our readers?
KT- I am just so happy to be able to do what I love to do. Even though I work eighty hours a week and almost every weekend, it's totally worth it.
Don't forget, leave a comment here with contact info for your chance to win Complete Embellishings signed by Kayte!